Bruins ready for a rumble at Madison Square Garden

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Bruins ready for a rumble at Madison Square Garden

WILMINGTON, MA Just three days after ruining the start to their season by handily tossing them a bitter defeat before they were demoralized by the Pittsburgh Penguins on their own home ice, the Bruins know that the Rangers wont be a red-faced bunch of Blueshirts on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Theyre fully prepared for the hornets nest effect waiting for them at Madison Square Garden and know the urgency will be there for a New York team thats now 0-2-0 in a shortened campaign where a bad start could be fatal.

We know their season hasnt started the way they wanted to, so theyre going to come at us with everything theyve got, said Milan Lucic as the Bruins finished up Tuesday practice at Ristuccia Arena before boarding their charter flight for New York City. Theyre a proud team and weve had some great battles over the last few years. We expect nothing less tomorrow night.

This is the first time that weve started the season 2-0-0 since Ive been here, so we want to keep it going. Were looking to put away what weve already done, and then start all over again every time we drop the puck.

In fact it's the Bruins best start in 11 years dating back to the 2001-02 edition of the Black and Gold that started off 3-0-0 on the season -- and boasted current assistant general manager Don Sweeney among it's defensemen corps and had the inimitable Byron Dafoe between the pipes.

Its difficult to explain whats going on in New York beyond some key players that simply dont appear like they were ready to begin the season. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was pulled from the Penguins loss, the first time that has happened since October 22, 2011 in Edmonton when the Swedish puck-stopper was having equipment issues, and didnt look sharp last weekend against the Bruins either.

Rick Nash has points in each of his first two games for the Rangers, but its clear the old chemistry isnt quite there yet for a team that won the Eastern Conference and marched to the conference finals last season. With the Bruins feeling on top of the world after a 2-0-0 start at home and the Rangers already feeling the heat while struggling with 4 percent of their season already complete, it should the same kind of playoff atmosphere that kicked up at TD Garden on Saturday night.

Will the Rangers come out with more urgency?

I dont think they will, I know they will, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. When youre that type of team and youre put in that kind of position, you would expect the very best out of them tomorrow.

Its not an easy building to play and weve had our fair share of tough games there over the years. So were expecting a challenge. But nonetheless its an opportunity for us to go into their building and play the best New York team that theyve been so far this season. It will be a really tough test and well be up to it.

Heart-and-soul players like Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh will have their mean faces on, the defense should be paying much more attention to detail after allowing nine goals in their first two games and pride should certainly be kicking in for Lundqvist, he of the .865 save percentage two games into the wild, wacky 48-game regular season.

So put Saturday nights win in the books as a nice opening statement and get ready for the kind of Wednesday night Round 2 that Madison Square Garden has seen its share of in its 45-year history.

Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

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Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins’ season has gone in extreme swings both up and down thus far through the first couple of months, and that was the case as they lost their third game in a row to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Bruins couldn’t only scratch for one goal despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 32-20 margin, and fell by a disappointing 4-1 score to the young and talented Toronto club at TD Garden.

The Bruins never enjoyed a lead in the game against the Leafs, and were flirting with danger after failing to score in the first period despite out-shooting Toronto by an 11-2 margin in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Instead it was a David Pastrnak neutral zone turnover in the second period that was picked off by William Nylander, and ended with Auston Matthews firing a rocket over Tuukka Rask for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto extended the lead with five minutes to go in the period when Zach Hyman tipped a wobbly Jake Gardiner point shot past Rask, and made it three games in a row that the Bruins have dug themselves a considerable hole. Brad Marchand got one goal back at the end of the second period on a nice hustle play as he sealed off Frederik Anderson’s clearing attempt and then stuffed the puck past the Leafs goalie on a second chance bid.

That’s the way the score remained until the third period when the Bruins couldn’t convert on a couple of offensive chances -- included a bang-bang shorthanded bid for Austin Czarnik in front of the net -- and then James van Riemsdyk scored in front as a Toronto power play expired. That was the backbreaker for a Black and Gold bunch that continues to scrap for goals, and has now scored two goals or less in 20 of their 20 games this season.

Connor Brown added an empty netter in the final two minutes of the game to truly put it out of reach for the Bruins. 

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.